“The Door of the World” is an unfinished story by Robert E. Howard. It follows John O’Dare, a man who encounters a mysterious youth and is subsequently drawn into a realm beyond the ordinary. The narrative explores themes of fear, otherworldly realms, and the thin veil between reality and the supernatural.

This incomplete tale was titled “The Door to the Garden” when it first appeared in Fantasy Crosswinds #2 (Stygian Isle Press, 1977). It was later completed by Joseph F. Pulver and included as “The Door to the World” in Nameless Cults (Chaosium, 2001).


The story begins with John O’Dare, a middle-aged man reflecting on his life. He finds himself in his quiet cottage at midnight, surrounded by books and enjoying a sense of peace. As he reads, he contemplates a ring he inherited from his ancestor, Lord Donal O’Dare, who died under mysterious circumstances. This ring, with its strange blue gem and unidentifiable characters, holds an enigmatic history.

O’Dare’s tranquil night is interrupted when a youth unexpectedly enters his room through a window. The youth, Xatha of Balrahar, is dressed in peculiar clothing and speaks of a strange garden and a monstrous pursuer named Begog. Xatha explains that he fled from a dream-like garden through a portal and ended up in O’Dare’s world, pursued by the monstrous Begog.

Xatha’s tale is bizarre and unsettling. He describes a garden of unearthly beauty, a gate of opal and ivory, and a terrifying escape from a monstrous bat-like creature. Xatha’s fear becomes palpable when he notices the ring on O’Dare’s hand, claiming it was stolen from him by a dark man with a scar, whom O’Dare’s ancestor closely resembles.

As Xatha’s fear mounts, he spots Begog outside the window. O’Dare also glimpses the horrific creature and throws a paperweight at it, causing it to retreat. In the ensuing chaos, Xatha invokes a mysterious “Door of the World,” leading to a disorienting experience for O’Dare. A greenish light floods the room, and O’Dare feels himself being pulled into a different realm.

Chapter 2 begins with O’Dare waking up in a strange, beautiful landscape. The rolling, grass-covered slopes and exotic flowers indicate that he has been transported to another world, far removed from the familiar surroundings of his cottage.


  • John O’Dare: The protagonist and narrator, a middle-aged man reflecting on his life and mysterious heirloom ring.
  • Xatha of Balrahar: A mysterious youth who enters O’Dare’s cottage, fleeing from a monstrous pursuer named Begog. He comes from a dream-like garden in another realm.
  • Begog: A monstrous creature with lurid yellow eyes and fang-like teeth, pursuing Xatha from another world.
  • Lord Donal O’Dare: An ancestor of John O’Dare, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1600. The heirloom ring was found in his possession.

Alternate title

The Door to the Garden‘.

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